The Squares.

18 Aug

More or less, I’ve dragged my ass to the gym every day of my life since I was 17 years old. Granted, I’ve had spells when I’ve eaten my way out of any noticeable results, but I’m on a good kick lately.

Apparently the man on this endless tour noticed today.

“Do you work out?” he asked me in Herald Square.

“Well, yes,” I answered.

He’s one of those guys who asks a question only to talk about himself.

“I work out five times a week,” said he and he should have stopped there. “How about you?”

I had to be honest. “Seven days a week, sir.” He was a bit deflated and left me alone only to regroup, in Madison Square, where he cornered me again.

“Guess how old I am?”

I HATE when they ask me that. While not heavy, his four droopy cheeks and pleated face put him at around eighty-nine in my book. “I really couldn’t say,” I said, then lied, “Sixty?”

“I’m seventy-two!” he sang and I feigned the wrong surprise.

In Union Square he grabbed his wife and paraded her in front of me like a clydesdale.

“She’s seventy-one and goes with me to the gym. We do thirty minutes of cardio and then I do free weights. And I had a quadruple bypass ten years ago!”

Bless his beleaguered heart, he was just happy to be alive I guess, but you’ll forgive me if I didn’t share his enthusiasm. It is so hard to give a tour when one of the guests has an entirely different agenda. Like bragging. Or living.

In Washington Square, I’d had it. After my favorite talk about the authors of Greenwich Village, and it is indeed astounding the heights and volume of literature that have been produced in that tiny neighborhood, I saw him heading my way, wife in tow:

“I’ll bet I can bench press more than you,” he says. “How much can you press?”

So I said,

“Sir, while anything is possible in the Village, your wife might think you’ve been flirting with me all this time. Let’s talk again in Battery Park.”

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